August 09, 2014 10:00 AM

This summer, lots of families are taking to the highways for a long vacation. And hopefully that means they’re riding around in a comfortable vehicle (think roomy interior, lots of storage and plenty of cupholders).

But that isn’t the only thing to consider. You also want a car that gets good mileage and has enough power to get you to each destination smoothly.

To find out which models really fit the bill, we asked Jennifer Newman, mom and senior editor for, for her recommendations.

Check them out below.


2014 Honda Odyssey (starting price: $28,825)

Seats eight, Fits five child-safety seats

It features a Cool Box that can keep drinks and snacks chilled while on the road and a 16.2-inch widescreen that can play a DVD or video from two different sources at once thanks to its split screen. There are also wireless headphones so Mom and Dad can enjoy some quiet while the kids watch Frozen again and again.

The second-row bench seat can slide out 1.5 inches on each side to create more room width-wise for bulky car seats (it fits three of them across the bench) or wide-shouldered teens. It’s also made for hauling people and all their baggage due to the deep storage area behind the third row, which is 38.4 cubic feet and can easily handle suitcases and more.

With a 248-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6, this minivan has lots of power for passing on the highway and it gets best-in-class fuel-economy numbers of 19/28/22 mpg city/highway/combined.

2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport (starting price: $24,950)

Seats five, Fits two child-safety seats

This midsize SUV is’s Family Car of the Year, and it’s easy to understand why. It boasts a roomy cabin that’s only made better with the optional panoramic moonroof, which adds plenty of light to both rows of seats.

The backseat slides up to 5.2 inches, allowing parents to move the bench forward to create a little more cargo room when needed for road trips. And the 35.4 cubic feet of storage space makes it a snap to pack a stroller or a portable crib with the rest of the family’s luggage. There’s also sizable under-floor storage in the cargo area to put smaller items.

An optional turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine will make even the most mundane road trip a blast, and its smooth ride and quiet cabin — thanks to lots of sound-deadening material — won’t wake up the snoozing kids in the backseat.

2014 Kia Soul (starting price: $15,695)

Seats five, Fits two child-safety seats

Parents know that good things come in small packages, and this compact SUV is yet another example of this adage. Redesigned for 2014, it has gained a refined look, but feels fun with its angular shape. It has also grown slightly in length and width, so the cargo area and the cargo-area opening are larger. The wide, flat backseat makes easy work of installing child-safety seats, and even rear-facing car seats fit well in the Soul.

2014 Dodge Durango (starting price: $29,995)

Seats seven, Fits four child-safety seats

If your road trip involves towing a boat or an RV, this is a good fit. When properly equipped, the Durango can tow up to 7,400 pounds. Although captain’s chairs in the second row are optional, we’re fans of the bucket seats because they make it easy for kids and adults to access the third-row — and it creates a buffer between siblings. No more complaints of “He’s touching me!”

The excellent handling makes it easy to maneuver this full-size SUV on the highway and in parking lots. There’s also an optional dual-screen Blu-ray and DVD-compatible rear entertainment system, which means 9-inch screens mounted in the front-row seats’ backrests.

2014 Infiniti QX80 (starting price: $62,700)

Seats eight, Fits four child-safety seats

This three-row SUV (formerly known as the QX56) has plenty of luxuries for rolling in style. It has a powerful V-8 engine, but you won’t hear it because the cabin is well insulated from road, wind and engine noise. That means no need for shouting while zipping down the highway.

It’s also a workhorse: When properly equipped, it can tow up to 8,500 pounds, making it perfect for towing a large boat or camper. The standard second-row captain’s chairs are standard and are so wide and comfortable, our reviewer said they seem like they come from a spa. Second-row passengers will also find lots of storage cubbies, and there’s a dual screen entertainment system for those really long drives.

2014 Audi Q7 (starting price: $47,700)

Seats seven, Fits four child-safety seats

This luxury SUV has standard all-wheel drive, and can be equipped with a gas or diesel V-6 (which means more mileage for your buck) engine. New for 2014, Xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights are standard and the Premium Plus trim adds keyless access with push-button start and a power steering column.

More notable features include a sliding, reclining second row, Audi Connect included with navigation system and the optional dual-screen, rear-seat entertainment system. More importantly, it drives like a dream.

For more information on family road trips, car seat installation and family car reviews, visit


You May Like